k The perfect tortilla with sobrasada, mahon cheese & honey k
I decided it was my mission to make the perfect tortilla – with the help of one of Ibiza’s finest tortilla makers Veronica Roig Torres. I decided to elevate this rustic, humble traditional recipe into a show stopping centre piece. First on the shopping list were the finest free range eggs on the island. I called upon an Ibiza legend Pascale Pocasombra – one of the islands remaining authentic hippies…but he would prefer to be labelled as a philosopher, visionary and artist.
He lives in a tiny crumbling finca with no electricity or running water and is surrounded by a menagerie of dogs, turkeys, cats, peacocks, ducks, pigs, wild boar and hundreds of Ibicecan chickens all roaming freely.
A true spectacle.
Pocasombra claims his eggs are the finest in the Balearics’ “with a prefect yellow like the sunset’. Finding the eggs was a challenge in itself…they tend to lay where they like, it’s not out of the ordinary that they leave their eggs in and on his bed.
Classic Ibiza in every way.
When it comes to making the tortilla, there seems to be a serious controversy surrounding the inclusion of onion. Veronica tells me it is essential along with vast quantities of olive oil which is the key to an authentic result. The potatoes and onions are slowly cooked in oil until tender but not browned, this saves the plain potato from blandness and the onion reduces down to melting softness that adds a sweetness, which makes it even better!
When making a traditional Spanish omelette recipe you add the cooked potato and onion to a bowl of beaten of eggs, this makes more sense from a textural point of view as it helps to stop all the potato sinking to the bottom. A little baking powder and milk helps fluff it up (another inside recipe secret). The final part of this recipe is a topping of pan fried Sobrassada – a cured sausage made with ground pork, paprika, salt and other secret spices.
This typically traditional Balearic sausage is prepared in the laborious but festive ritual known as ‘matanza’ which marks the autumn when the family pig is slaughtered (it apparently is done swiftly and as humanely as possible).
If you cannot find sobrassada, a good quality chorizo could be used as a substitute. I then covered the cake in shavings of a special local cheese called Gamoneo which is a blend of sheep, goats and cow milk – Mahón cheese is a good alternative. Then I added a dollop of raw honey that gives a divine sweet/salty dimension.
The final show stopper are a scattering of beautiful delicate wild flowers (flowering white rocket and viola). I am proud to elevate this modest classic into a creation of beauty – a tortilla fit for the king of Spain himself!
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a meal, 8 as tapas)
300ml olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely sliced
600g waxy potatoes Jersey Royals or Charlottes, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices (like thick crisps)
6 large free range eggs, beaten
50ml full fat milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper
Optional fabulous topping…
100g sobrasada (or chorizo crumbled)
50g mahon cheese (or manchego, parmesan) shaved
Drizzle of raw honey
Optional wild edible flower to decorate (I used flowering rocket & viola)
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame, add the potato and cook gently for 15 minutes until soft. Add the onions to the pan – if it seems overcrowded, you can cook them in a couple of batches. Cook until the vegetables are tender and on the point of falling apart, then drain well (you can keep the oil).
- In a separate mixing bowl add the cooked potato and onion to the beaten eggs, season well, and leave to stand for 10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger onion flavour. Now add the milk and the baking powder.
- Put a smaller pan (about 20cm) over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil. When hot, add the mixture – it should almost fill the pan. Gently stir away from the edge of the pan until it looks and feels about two thirds set.
- Place a plate, or a saucepan lid, over the pan, and invert it so the tortilla flips on to the plate. Slide it back in, tipping any liquid egg in with it. Cook until it is springy to the touch: be careful not to overcook it: it should still be slightly runny in the middle.
- Now heat a dry frying pan and add the crumbled sobrasada, cook until the fat runs out and it starts to slightly brown. Place the cooked sausage on top of the tortilla along with the delicious fat (this will sink into the tortilla). Now sprinkle over the shaved cheese, drizzle with honey and decorate with wild edible flowers (if you can get some) otherwise pea shoots or watercress will be lovely also.